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Top MLB Betting Picks for Thursday, August 26th (2021)

by August 26, 2021
Carlos Rodon

Dating back to last Friday’s column, we are on a run of four consecutive profitable days. To say that yesterday’s picks had some excitement to them is an understatement. En route to a 2-1 day, San Diego’s team total somehow stayed under the 3.5 runs despite playing 16 innings, and the Nationals-Marlins game stayed under despite going ten. Our only loss involved a little bit of history as well, as Tampa Bay’s team total went over in a game where they tagged an opposing pitcher for seven runs in eight innings of work. The last time a starting pitcher had that stat line in a game was in 2012, per Jessica Brand on Twitter.

Let’s hope our picks today are just as profitable but not as nerve-wracking.

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 143-122-7 (+4.62 units)

Angels-Orioles OVER 11 runs (-105)

For the second time in three days, we back the over between the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles. There is no logical way to think this game will stay under the predicted total with a pitching matchup between Los Angeles’s Jaime Barria (2-2, 5.87) and Baltimore’s Keegan Akin (0-8, 7.92). 

The Orioles have not had much success of any kind lately, as their 19-game losing streak was two shy of their franchise record, which was also the longest losing streak of any franchise in the divisional era. Baltimore has even less success when Akin starts, as they are 1-17 in his 18 appearances, with just six of those losses coming by less than four runs. In the 18 appearances Akin has made for Baltimore, the Orioles have allowed an average of 7.3 runs per game. Thus, it is safe to say the Angels will do their part in the scoring. Los Angeles has totaled 20 runs through the first two games of the series and will get it going offensively against Baltimore’s lefty. 

Barria has allowed 11 earned runs in 11 combined innings in three August starts. In that span, he has an OBA of .380 and a WHIP of 2.00. He faces an Orioles lineup that has hit well recently, as their OPS ranks in the top ten in baseball over the last seven days. 

The over is 7-2 in the last nine meetings between these teams and is 4-0 in Akin’s previous four starts against teams .500 or worse. Not even a day game on getaway day can stop these teams from lighting up the scoreboard. And with Baltimore’s long losing streak behind them, look for them to play loose, and to be especially comfortable at the plate.

Chicago White Sox ML (-110)

With how much attention has been paid to teammate Lance Lynn lately in his candidacy for the American League Cy Young Award, White Sox starter Carlos Rodon has become a forgotten man. Rodon (9-5, 2.38) has spent time on the 10-day IL with a shoulder injury. However, he still has the fourth-best odds at FanDuel (+1500) to win the Cy Young, and we are getting great value on Chicago’s moneyline odds since this is his first start in 19 days.

Rodon faces a Blue Jays lineup that has struggled mightily of late, totaling just 14 runs in their last six games. Toronto’s OPS over the previous seven days ranks 27th in the league, and their batting average and OPS in the last 15 days against lefties ranks 18th or worse. Rodon’s success this season is tied mainly to his breaking pitches, as opponents are hitting just .103 against his curve and slider (ranks second-best among qualified pitchers). 

Though the Blue Jays have ace Hyun Jin Ryu (12-6, 3.54) on the mound, it will not matter if the team does not give him any run support. His team has scored just six total runs for him in his last two starts, and he has struggled against good competition recently. In his previous two starts against teams over .500 (Mariners, Red Sox), Ryu allowed 11 earned runs in ten combined innings with just four strikeouts. Chicago got leadoff man Tim Anderson back at the top of the lineup after he missed a couple of games with sore legs, and their team is much more dangerous when he plays.

The over is 4-0-1 in Ryu’s last five starts against teams with a winning record, which has us confident the White Sox will give Rodon plenty of run support.

Diamondbacks-Phillies UNDER 8.5 runs (-105)

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies meet for the second time in a week, after the Phillies were embarrassingly swept in a three-game series at Arizona last week. None of those three games totaled more than eight runs, with Philadelphia’s offense only breaking through for two runs each game. Neither offense has been consistent enough since then to expect a high-scoring game in the series opener.

Except for an eight-run outburst by Arizona at Colorado and a seven-run outburst by Philadelphia at San Diego, the two teams have combined to score more than four runs just once since they last played. Tonight’s pitching matchup between Zac Gallen (1-7, 4.59) and Zach Eflin (4-7, 4.17) is not the most intriguing, but both have been effective against the other’s lineup. Diamondbacks and Phillies hitters are a combined 8-for-49 (.163) against the opposing pitcher, and they have just as many combined strikeouts as hits.

The under has cashed in Philadelphia’s last six series openers and is 3-0-1 in their previous four meetings overall. Look for another low-scoring affair tonight.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Baseball, Picks